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Lessons Learned: ‘Continent of extremes’ fostered new self-awareness

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Tony Rogge, director of the International Centre for Students at the University of Manitoba. Lived and worked in Africa 1973-74, 1978-79 and 1981 with his family; travelled, lived and learned in Africa as a child and as a development worker in Malawi with World University Students Canada from 1995-97.

"I’ve always said that Africa is a continent of extremes. Finding a comfort zone within these extremes is a huge challenge for anyone really interested in cultivating a relationship with Africa, its people and its diaspora.

Finding a balance between the amazing possibilities, the creativity, its grace, good humour and hospitality and the ugly realities of a continent under immense stress and undergoing rapid change, is critical.

Living, working and studying in 15 countries in Africa has made me much more aware of who I am, my place in the world and the many gifts that I have. But it has also made me equally aware of my own limitations, taught me to be modest about what I know to be true in the world and reminded me to trust the uncertainty in my life."

— compiled by John Longhurst

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